Share This Page

GCC softball packing offensive punch in early going

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 11:46 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Carolyn Appleby fields a ground ball against East Allegheny on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at East Allegheny.
Ronald Vezzani | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic coach Gary Ciarimboli signals a batter early in game action against East Allegheny on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at East Allegheny.
Ronald Vezzani | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Lauren Sturnik delivers a pitch against East Allegheny on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at East Allegheny.
Ronald Vezzani | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Marina Kosar watches the ball approach the plate against East Allegheny on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at East Allegheny.

On paper, at least, this year's edition of the Greensburg Central Catholic softball team appeared to be in a rebuilding mode.

With only three seniors, it had the feel and look of a junior varsity team based on class rank.

However, as coach Gary Ciarimboli can attest, his young team can stack up against programs with far more experienced and older players.

Scoring runs — and lots of them — makes up for youth.

The No. 5-ranked Centurions are off to a hot start, compiling a 4-1 overall record and 4-0 mark in Section 4-AA thanks to an overpowering offensive attack.

GCC had blowout wins against South Allegheny, 22-5, Brentwood, 19-4, East Allegheny, 19-2, and Steel Valley, 8-0.

“I've been real pleased so far,” Ciarimboli said. “For a younger team, we are really hitting the ball well. You worry about that coming in because of the weather and not being able to get on the field much, but the girls are really putting up some runs.”

A pair of sophomores have led the way so far this season — catcher Carolyn Appleby and pitcher Nikki Adisey.

Adisey, who Ciarimboli said is one of the best shortstops around and was named all-section as a freshman last year, converted to be a full-time pitcher this year to anchor a staff short on depth.

Junior Lauren Sturnik, who normally starts in left field and is a former catcher, has been converted to a pitcher this season to give Adisey some rest.

Ciarimboli has been pleased with both pitchers so far.

“Adisey is just a very athletic player,” he said. “She's a tremendous basketball player, which limited her offseason work a bit, but she's already coming into mid-season form. She really brings a high level of athleticism to the team and has a very strong mindset toward pitching. She doesn't get flustered and is also one of our better hitters.

“We had to go to Lauren and ask her to become a pitcher. She's a great athlete and has made a smooth transition. With her background as a catcher, she understands the game well.”

Appleby has led the way defensively and at the plate.

“(Adisey and Appleby) are really our core,” Ciarimboli said. “Those types of softball players don't come along every year. They bring all the intangibles and do all the little things. I think they would excel in any sport they played. Luckily for me, it's softball.”

This year's team entered the season with aspirations of matching or exceeding last year's finish.

GCC lost, 3-2, against Deer Lakes in WPIAL Class AA championship game and then dropped a PIAA first-round game to Fairview.

Ciarimboli said having five girls back who played in that championship game will be instrumental in the Centurions returning to that level.

“We really got hot in the playoffs last year, and that's all it takes,” he said. “These girls learned that you don't have to have a perfect season to still be successful in the playoffs. It's one game, and anything can happen. Once you're in, records don't matter. They learned the workload required to get there and got to play in a high-pressure game.”

GCC has only 13 players out for the team so depth is an issue. However, the Centurions are considered a front-runner in the Section 4-AA race.

“We have a long way to go,” Ciarimboli said. “Our goal is always to win the section, but ultimately our goal is to go beyond that level. We want to win championships. But first things first, we have a lot of unknowns. It's still early, and we're all behind due to the weather. It's going to be interesting to see how it shakes out.”

Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.